Facebook’s new policy on political speech is now fair game for a ban

Facebook's new policy on political speech is now fair game for a ban

Facebook still banning Trump — for now — despite campaign promises… and a big fight on Capitol Hill

(Photo: Getty Images)

On a day when Americans and their elected representatives are still fighting on the issue of foreign interference in our elections that has been raging for over a year, Facebook is, for now, standing steadfastly with its long-term policies on political bias and free speech.

But even as these policies come under attack from Republicans, even as we’re still waiting for the House Intelligence Committee’s report on alleged Russian meddling in our elections that Facebook has pledged to make public, Facebook’s new policy allows it to keep banning any content that it deems doesn’t adhere to its existing anti-discrimination policies. Which means, as of today, Facebook is now saying that “any type of content” — including a political advertisement — is now fair game for a ban.

“We want to be a place where people feel safe around their political beliefs,” an anonymous Facebook spokesperson told Mashable. “This policy, which has been in place since we launched the feature in September 2018 and which will continue to evolve in the months ahead, makes sure that no one violates the company’s hate speech or discrimination policies in an online space.”

These policies date back to before Facebook even made the controversial changes in its election advertising tools in 2016. “These policies are based on our commitment to our community to protect each other and reject content that marginalizes or devalues others,” the Facebook spokesperson said. “We continually receive feedback about how we interpret and apply these rules, and we will continue to adapt to our community’s concerns moving forward.”

But as we learned yesterday, Facebook has been far from consistent in its crackdown on political speech, with one company leader arguing that the company “always wanted to be the arbiter of all right and wrong.” And even though Zuckerberg himself promised in 2011 that free expression online would be the same as you read it in the paper, Facebook has also spent the past year attacking the idea

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